Meditation: a Conversational Model
Some thoughts in progress, in preparation for a practice seminar in Edmonton. Perhaps the skeleton of a future book. Any and all feedback from meditators is most welcome.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f I don’t count the cathedral daydreams of a very Catholic childhood, I began meditating in 1995, when I was twenty-four. First with Tibetan Buddhists, through lam-rim (beginner) and then kye-rim (Tantric initiate) forms. Then I meditated with a charismatic Course in Miracles group, which was a total trip. After that there was a lot of mantra meditation while I was studying Ayurveda and Jyotisa intensively. Next came vipassana training. I’ve also done a lot of reading in zen, which like many traditions might be cool if a person gets lucky with a non-creepy teacher. But by the time I picked up Suzuki and Dogen I wasn’t a joiner anymore.
So under the auspices of several religious traditions, I’ve cycled through the four meditation categories that researchers in clinical psychology and neurophysiology have broken down for distinct study: “focused attention”, “open monitoring”, “self-transcendence”, and “compassion-based”. These days I sit almost every morning: never for too long, liking it, not liking it, and not quite sure of what I’m doing or where it’s taking me. Feeling like a beginner pretty much always. Continue reading “Meditation: a Conversational Model”
śruti and smṛti: intertextu-orality, phenomenology, and the so-ham behind the swan
(This post is a draft of a section from the introduction to a work-in-progress called Yoga Philosophy Digest: three core texts for students, in which I’ll be trying to present the most helpful reading and contemplative strategies for students who wish to navigate theBhagavad Gītā, the Yoga Sūtra-s, and the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā. Any and all feedback is appreciated.)
Continue reading “śruti and smṛti: intertextu-orality, phenomenology, and the so-ham behind the swan”
It’s only right to invoke one’s sources of inspiration and support. Before classes or meeting with clients, I chant the following prayers in Sanskrit. My translations are both eccentric and rhapsodic, and are meant to convey the personal feeling that has accrued (up to the moment of this posting – it will surely continue to evolve) over years of recitation and contemplation. Direct written translations are inherently misleading. They are the fossils of song. Continue reading “opening mantras”
Initiation of mantra comes through hearing alone. Hearing comes through space element. The elders say that the lowliest villager passing through space by the temple door who happens to hear a mantra is initiated by its rhythm and from then on is beholden to its meaning.
(When the elders become the eldest they sit at the temple door and listen to the songs of children and are themselves initiated anew.) Continue reading “mantra”